Dogs and cats are extremely loving, but that’s not the only reason people keep them in their homes. Both these animals are known for their companionship and provide loads of health benefits, including emotional and physical.
Pets have impressive quality of forming close bonds with human beings. In fact, science is starting to support and find proof of their ability to do so! Moreover, they alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety, help reduce stress and improve heart health.
Why Keeping A Pet Is A Great Idea
Ask any pet owner how they feel about having a pet, and they will tell you about all the joys that come with finding companionship in animals. However, what many people do not know is the physical and mental health benefits of owning a pet. It is only recently that science has started to look into the widespread benefits of owning a pet and developing a human-animal bond. Who knew snuggling with your furry friend wasn’t the only advantage of owning a pet?
Pets are naturally attuned to human behavior and emotions. For example, even though dogs can understand some of the words humans use, they are exceptionally good at reading emotions, body language, gestures, and understanding the tone of their owner’s voice. Like a best friend, a dog will look at its owner to understand how they are feeling and what they are thinking.
Dogs and cats are known to help with anxiety and depression, lower stress levels, soften loneliness, increase exercise, encourage playfulness, and alleviate your cardiovascular health. Children who take care of animals while growing up and seen to be more active, secure, and in touch with their emotions. Pets also provide companionship for older adults who are retired from work and spend most of their time indoors. If you are looking for unconditional love and ultimate joy, getting a pet is a great idea.
Health Benefits Of Owning A Pet
Even though we have only talked about keeping a cat or dog so far, it should be kept in mind that all animals are great for human health. Even watching a fish swim around in an aquarium or glass bowl can lower muscle tension, anxiety, and pulse rate.
According to some studies, here are some benefits of owning a pet:
- People who have pets are less likely to suffer from depression as compared to those without pets.
- When in a stressful situation, pet owners are likely to have lower blood pressure compared to those without pets. Another study explored how people with borderline hypertension felt when visiting a shelter of adopted dogs. It was noticed that with regular visits, their blood pressure declined significantly.
- Playing with pets increases happy hormones in the body, including serotonin and dopamine. These happy hormones allow you to relax and stay calm.
- Those who have pets are noticed to have lower levels of triglyceride and cholesterol. This proves that pet owners are less likely to suffer from heart disease.
- Patients who have suffered from heart attacks in the past are more likely to survive if pets surround them.
- On average, people with pets over the age of 65 go to the doctor 30% less than those without pets.
Owning a pet encourages you to make healthy lifestyle changes. These changes help with depression, anxiety, stress, bipolar disorder, and PTSD. Here’s how:
1. More Exercise
Think about it this way- if you keep a dog, you will have to take it for a walk, hike, or even a run. These are fun and rewarding ways to get your daily steps in. According to studies, those who own dogs are likely to be healthy as they meet their daily exercise goals.
Of course, regular exercise is excellent for your pets as well. Not only will it be great for both of you, but it will also help you form a deeper connection with your pet. Moreover, regular walks and runs can help eliminate behavior problems in dogs while ensuring that they stay fit. Remember, any pet who stays indoors for too long is likely to become agitated.
Illness is a by-product of loneliness. Pets provide companionship, which is a great way to add some years to your life. There is no denying that isolation and loneliness can alleviate symptoms of depression. By keeping a pet, you will be forced to care for another individual. Pets also help you feel wanted and needed, distracting you from your problems. After all, all we need is a little bit of love.
It is no surprise that dog and cat owners occasionally talk to their pets. In fact, they vent about their problems because they are positive that their pets can understand them. How can one ever feel lonely if they always come home to a happy, wagging tail ready to jump on them or a purring cat trying to cuddle with them?
Pets are living individuals that you are responsible for. That means you will have to ensure that you stick to a regular feeding and exercise schedule for your pets. It is easy to get depressed and stay in bed while blocking the world out if you live alone. However, if you know that you are responsible for someone else, that feeling is enough to drag you out of bed.
Regardless of your mood, whether depressed, anxious, or stressed, your pet needs to be fed and walked. Who can resist puppy dog eyes? This need to take care of someone besides yourself will be enough to get you out of your pajamas and ready to care for your pets.
Pets fulfill a human being’s basic need for touch. They help increase feelings of affection and gratitude. In fact, a study showed that criminals hardened in prison showed long-term changes in their behavior patterns after interacting with animals. They reported feeling love and affection after a very long time. This goes to show that animals can have a calming and soothing effect while alleviating anxiety and depression.